Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Change Agents," an article in the latest Roosevelt Review

Click here to download "Change Agents," by Laura Janota in the latest issue of Roosevelt Review.  This article describes how transformational learning is being used in exciting ways throughout the university.  It profiles one innovative partnership we have established with Morrill Elementary School to increase the use of restorative justice instead of punitive discipline measures like suspensions and expulsions.

The download also includes a follow-up article, "Through their Eyes" that describes how Professor Tammy Oberg De La Garza takes a unique approach in her research and service learning outreach about literacy among Latino elementary students.

2012-2013 Grant Recipients Announced

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the Mansfield Institute's grant program for transformational learning, supported by the McCormick Tribune Foundation.  These faculty members will be able to purchase materials and needed equipment, hire an undergraduate or graduate level teaching assistant, or facilitate transportation to help them implement transformational service learning during the upcoming year.

We were able to distribute $28,000 in this cycle to support innovative uses of service learning that will allow students to develop a deeper understanding of class concepts by their outreach in the community.  Roosevelt University students in these classes, for example, will outreach urban youth to provide "street law" presentations, partner with local schools to promote restorative justice practices, collaborate with environmental organizations as part of science classes, and interview and assist immigrants in Chicago.

Congratulations to this year's awardees:

Catherine Campbell (Psychology)
PSYC 520 - Basic Clinical Skills

Tammy Oberg De La Garza (Education)
READ 320 - Teaching Reading in Elementary Schools
READ 323- Teaching Reading through Children's Literature

Melissa Sisco (Psychology)
ACP 250 - Grounds for Change / PSYC 250 - Youth Violence: Interventions and Theory
PSYC 382 - Psychology of Mentorship

W. Aaron Shoults-Wilson (Biological, Chemical, and Physical Sciences)
PHSC 105 - Introduction to Environmental Science
BIOL 112 - Environmental Biology

Amy Roberts and Kim Dienes (Psychology)
PSYC 254 - Childhood and Adolescence

Sofia Dermisi and Jon DeVries (Finance and Real Estate)
REES 493 - Urban Sustainability

Heather Dalmage and Alfred DeFreece (Sociology)
SOC 327/427 - Race and Ethnic Relations
SOC 381 - Youth, Race, and Culture

Mike Bryson (Sustainability Studies)
SUST 350 - Service and Sustainability

Priscilla Archibald (Literature and Languages)
ACP 250 - Grounds for Change / SPAN 252 - Immigration Today

Steve Balkin (Economics)
ECON 213 - Crime, Economics, and Urban Life

Monday, May 21, 2012

Chicago celebration of transformational learning

On April 19th, the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation held a celebration for transformational learning and the scholar activist program at the downtown campus.  The event, coordinated by Nikita Stange, AmeriCorps VISTA, was an opportunity for students and faculty to present the social justice work they have been doing in Chicago and beyond. From business to psychology and education to economics, students presented their research and service learning projects.

Nicole Comer, a teaching assistant for BAMD 398 described creating partnerships for Roosevelt students that will allow students to have social justice oriented internship opportunities in the Heller College of Business. 

Heather Dalmage and two of her students, Amanda Warren and Greg Fuller, described their experiences at Morrill Elementary School.  Their sociology class learned about restorative justice and participated in Peace Circles and student mentoring while fulfilling their transformational learning course requirement. Both Amanda and Greg both continued to volunteer at the school after their class was finished. Amanda said, “There is a huge difference between learning about injustice and actually seeing it.”  Kristina Peterson also had students from her Clinical Mental Health Counseling Course at Morrill in Spring 2012, and Alfred DeFreece will have sociology students there in the Fall 2012.  Leslie Bloom from the College of Education also had her students involved with school disciplinary practices.  Through the scholar activist program, she and her students examined how community organizations implement restorative justice programs in the Chicago Public Schools.  They were able to prepare a report that their community organization partners (COFI) can use in the future to secure funding.

Also in the realm of education, Tammy Oberg De La Garza used transformational learning and partnered with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association. Her students mentored Latino students and implemented “best practice” instructional methodologies.  Her students created videos that highlighted their experiences working with children.

Peter Lee, Corrie Harris, and Nicole Farr described how they learned about the issues behind the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, from the perspective of business and stock traders to individuals working with the Occupy group.  They expressed enthusiasm at having had a chance to better understand an issue they knew little about and found the experience rewarding. 

Joseph Bulter and Alex Atkins presented on their work with the Young Men’s Educational Network (YMEN) where they assisted boys in North Lawndale.  Through their work, they were able to make connections with the young men with the hopes of preparing them to become leaders. 

Students from Lisa Lu’s PSYC 310 course described their experiences trying to teach neuroscience to middle school students.  They expressed initial nervousness about being the leader in the classroom, but found the experience rewarding, especially since they were able to all work together towards one common goal: to deliver a science lesson.  The students were successful in their presentations as the school remarked that they loved having the Roosevelt students there.

Katie Copenhaver’s LIBS 201 class worked with nonprofits in helping build communication and marketing materials.  They conducted organizational assessments that allowed them to better understand the partner organizations.  One group worked with the Mansfield Institute to help categorize their social justice related materials.  Terry Pernell remarked that the experience taught him that at RU “we actually practice social justice not just preach it.”  Through their research and subsequent reports, students not only provided valuable help to the organizations but also strengthened their writing and research skills.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Transformational learning in Spring 2012

As the Spring 2012 semester comes to a close, we are happy to a few of the innovative ways in which Roosevelt University faculty members used transformational learning in their classes.

See photos from Mike Bryson's course in Sustainability Studies in which his students partnered with Growing Power Youth Corps to work together at the Chicago Lights Urban Farm.  

You can also learn how students in Lisa Lu's course ("Fundamentals of Behavioral Neuroscience" taught lessons about the brain to 7th and 8th graders at the Young Women's Leadership Charter School as part of Brain Awareness Week 2012.

These are wonderful testimonials to how transformational learning can make a difference in the lives of Roosevelt University students as well as the youth involved in these outreach efforts.

As a whole, transformational learning continues to grow at the university.  In total, we offered 99 transformational learning courses in 2011-2012 with an enrollment of 1,460 students.  This is a three-fold increase compared to just two years ago.  If you're interested in learning how to use transformational learning in your own classes, please feel free to contact the Mansfield Institute staff -- we'd be happy to help.